App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
Graphics / Sound Rating:
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Bashi Blocks has all the trappings of a quality brick-breaker. It looks really good, has plenty of levels and power-ups, includes boss fights (a neat idea more games like this should use) and even lets players create their own stages. Yessir, all of the boxes on the imaginary checklist have been checked, and a few new ones were added. The problem is that the framework it's built on needs a lot of patching up.
Bouncing a ball off of a paddle in order to smash defiant masonry to pieces has been an industry mainstay for almost 40 years now, so the existence of a small army of similar titles isn't a surprise. It's a simple system that's been built up over the years, and Bashi Blocks does a good job of incorporating many of the more notable additions.
The "campaign" is broken up into several worlds, each with its own theme and bosses. The power-ups are fairly standard when compared to other games in the genre, but that doesn't make them any less entertaining to use. On top of the rather extensive campaign mode (and leaderboards, naturally) there's also a level editor, so players can make their own stages to keep themselves busy once the pre-built ones are finished. Rounding it all off is a pretty, if slightly generic, set of graphics that add a layer of visual "pop."
So yes, it looks great and has great features. Unfortunately it also has to be played, and that's where the whole thing grinds to a halt. There are two control options, and neither of them is all that hot. The button controls are way too sensitive and cause the paddle to rocket uncontrollably between either side of the screen with the lightest touch. The default touch controls aren't any better. Moving the paddle around feels slightly slippery, but the real problem is the way it will snap to line up with the player's finger. Lifting a finger for a split second, then touching down somewhere else will cause the paddle to practically teleport to the new location. It can be annoying during a game, but it's even worse when launching a ball for the first time because it's done by touching the screen above the paddle.
And there's no pause button. Anywhere. In either control configuration. As far as I can tell, there are only three ways to stop a game in-progress: Press the Home button, intentionally get a game over or miraculously get a text message. This is an issue that needs some serious addressing.
I really wanted to be able to recommend Bashi Blocks, but I just can't. As great as it looks and as much as it offers, the controls still manage to drag it all down. With an update or two this might be a serious contender, but it's not quite there yet.